Intersectional caste and gender discrimination leaves Dalit women and girls as some of the furthest behind when it comes to achieving the UN Global Goals and therefore this type of discrimination needs special focused attention. Dalit women are leading the way by standing up for their rights, they need global solidarity and justice to catalyse their access to rights and dignity. In this publication we highlight some of the key challenges faced by Dalit women and girls in relation to the specific UN Global Goals and targets and offer advice on what you can do to stand in solidarity with these women and be a catalyst of change
IDSN’s member, the Feminist Dalit Organisation in Nepal (FEDO), has issued an e-bulletin with inspirational stories of their work to push for meaningful political participation of Dalit women and fight against discrimination and injustice. Read the FEDO E-bulletin from Jan-March 2019
In the last five years of the Modi government, there has been no movement even on assistance and rehabilitation of manual scavengers. In fact, in the interim budget, the Centre has reduced by more than half the allocation for rehabilitating manual scavengers.
Asha Kowtal, General Secretary of the Dalit Women’s Movement AIDMAM-NCDHR, an IDSN member talks about the Dalit Women Fight movement in this 5-minute video made by UN Women and Google. “We are not silent. You are not silent. You are fighting. We are also fighting. We need to connect together because injustice is injustice, whether it’s your class, your caste, your sexuality or your ethnic identity.” Says Asha Kowtal in the video.
“Criminal Justice in the Shadow of Caste” is a pioneering report looking at the administration of criminal justice in India through a caste lens. The findings reveal discrimination at all levels, including within prisons. The report has been released by IDSN member, the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ-NCDHR), in collaboration with the National Centre for Dalit Human Rights.
The Indian government should prevent and prosecute mob violence by vigilante groups targeting minorities in the name of so-called cow protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released in March. The 104-page report, “Violent Cow Protection in India: Vigilante Groups Attack Minorities,” describes the use of communal rhetoric to spur a violent vigilante campaign against consumption of beef and those engaged in the cattle trade. The victims are predominantly Muslims and Dalits.
Report by NGO Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, looking at the caste inequities underpinning manual scavenging in India and the many Dalits dying while cleaning septic tanks and sewers with no proper equipment. The findings, outlined in this summary, point to an urgent need for action to end this practice. Read the full report here. An event was held to release the report where the documentary “The Cost of Cleanliness” based on the deaths of workers engaged in cleaning sewers and septic tanks was also released.Read the summary of the report findings here.
The Wire speaks to rehabilitated manual scavengers as identified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and finds their condition and profession unchanged
IDSN member the Feminist Dalit Organisation – FEDO, in collaboration with Nepal Human Rights Commission and Open Society Justice Initiative, organised a three-day conference on "Equal access to justice for all: Using law to dismantle caste based discrimination in South Asia." This was attended by national human rights practitioners and advocates from the region, key state champions and regional actors to highlight the state and national efforts to advance the rights of Dalit and marginalized communities. The practitioners shared their experiences, examples of how organizations and coalitions are implementing wide-ranging changes to advance justice, and discuss ways that legal advocates and community partners can collaborate across organizations and coalitions to forge a way forward.
IDSN engaged with the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), held in the Palais des Nations from the 10th to the 28th of September 2018. IDSN delivered statements, lobbied Member States and OHCHR staff and met with the High Commissioner and the NGO Committee. Read a summary of IDSN's interventions in this IDSN news piece.
UN side-event hears cases of caste-based violence against Dalit women in India where UN and legal experts respond with calls for action. The report ‘Voices Against Caste Impunity: Narratives of Dalit Women in India’, was also released at the event and an outcome document with recommendations from the event has been produced.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have released a statement asking the Indian Government to end politically motivated arrests of Dalit rights activists who are simply doing their work to defend human rights in the country. IDSN continuously raises this issue in international fora and fully endorses and supports this statement.
According to the Dalits who spent months in jail, the police specifically asked people their caste and arrested them even if they weren't involved in the Bharat Bandh protest.
The Concluding Observations of the May 2018 review of Nepal, by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), includes dozens of remarks relating to caste-based discrimination and several strongly worded recommendations on fighting it. Read the full IDSN analysis
Arrested during nationwide protests in April, called by Dalit organisations, the juveniles' families have stated that the boys were picked up by police only because they were Dalits standing up for their rights. “My son’s only crime is that he is a Dalit,” says the father of one of the boys. “We thought that if our son studied well, the family’s fortune would change for the better. But now they have pressed so many charges against him that his whole life will become embroiled in it.” News site The Wire has covered this story and IDSN members in India are currently conducting fact-finding in relation to this case.
The HRDA-India, a forum for the protection of human rights defenders, has issued an urgent appeal for action to protect Dalit human rights defender Mr. Rajat Kalsan. Mr Kalsan is working to help Dalits gain justice and protection from abuses as a lawyer and activist in Haryana state. He has worked on gang-rape cases and cases of attack and arson committed by dominant castes against Dalits and a host of other cases involving serious violations of human rights. The appeal states that due to this work, dominant caste leaders are colluding with local police to file false charges against Mr. Rajat and cause him serious harm.